B.C.’s agriculture minister says the province is working to get hay for farmers and ranchers who need it immediately.
Agriculture Minister Pam Alexis made the announcement Tuesday (July 25) for supports for farmers and ranchers who have been impacted by the drought. It comes the day after much of the province saw its first rainfall in weeks.
Alexis said the province, along with BC Cattlemen’s Association, will be sourcing what hay and feed is available from sellers and then matching it with farmers and producers. B.C. will be looking at jurisdictions beyond Canada, as much of the country is seeing droughts.
It will be available for everyone, no matter the sector, and for small, medium and large businesses.
BC Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin Boon said it will work like “somewhat of a dating service” in connecting those in need of hay and alternative feeds.
Boon said what makes the drought different than in other years is that it’s impacting the entire province. Usually, farmers and ranchers facing droughts are able to rely on other areas, but that’s not the case this year.
In addition, Alexis added that some producers may be facing immediate cash-flow challenges. The province has applied for – and been approved for – a federal program, AgriStability, for advanced payments. Starting Friday, participants will be contacted about receiving advance payments and could be in their accounts within 10 business days to cover necessary expenses, including the increased cost of feed and hay.